Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Kayla
Part I of this blood sugar balance series broke down how each of the three macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fat – impacts blood sugar and why steady blood sugar is beneficial for weight loss.
You might recall that pairing carbs with a protein or fat, like those listed in my dietitian-approved grocery list, and saving carbs for last helps blunt the blood sugar response.
Today, I’ll share two more tips for minimizing blood sugar, but first, let’s review why carbs aren’t so bad after all!
The skinny on carbs
Carbs get a bad rap for making us fat, but the truth is the “healthfulness” of carbs covers a broad spectrum.
For instance, you have healthy carbs like vegetables, fruits, and legumes on one end. They are high in fiber and cause a gentle rise in blood sugar.
Opposite of whole food carbohydrates are ultra-processed carbs like candy, baked goods, cereals, chips, crackers, and bread – all of which are delivered in a package or wrapper.
These highly processed foods are digested quickly (because they have little to no fiber), causing a drastic spike in blood sugar – exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
The bottom line is that some carbs are healthier than others. For example, carrots trump crackers, and an apple beats bread.
🫐 Antioxidants – to maintain the integrity of body cells
💩 Fiber – which helps you poop & feeds your gut microbes
💊 Vitamins & Minerals – food is the best medicine!
So here are two more strategies to optimize your blood sugar and consume carbohydrates guilt-free!
Sandwich meals with activity
We’re learning just how crucial lean muscle and muscle activation are for vital health. It’s now suggested that we’re not only overweight and obese as a population, but we’re also under-muscled.
Muscle tissue actively consumes glucose or sugar from our blood, but the caveat is we have to use our muscles!
One of the best ways to utilize carbohydrates and manage blood sugar simultaneously is by incorporating physical activity before or after a meal.
And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy! A 20-30 minute brisk walk before lunch or after dinner, for example, helps shuttle glucose from your blood to body cells, lowering blood sugar and dropping excess pounds.
Resist the urge
Another way to easily manipulate your response to carbohydrates is to prep starchy carbs in advance.
When you cook and cool starchy foods like rice, potatoes, and pasta, you create “resistant” starch. Resistant starch acts more like fiber and doesn’t impact your blood sugar as much as the fresh, piping-hot carbs!
The advantage is created during the cooling process, so cook your rice or potatoes as usual, and cool them overnight in the fridge. You can reheat them and still get the same benefits!
For more on resistant starches, check out my viral TikTok video and part II which explains why!
Words from the Wise
“The lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy.”-Tom Hardy
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